“Fresh approaches to tackling climate change” FEASTA climate group workshop

Governments aren’t tackling the climate crisis – so what can be done? That is the question that Feasta climate group members sought to answer in two cutting edge workshops in Winchester at the end of June. Uniquely, the two day workshop brought together lawyers, social scientists, ecological economists and climate change activists who were briefed on the science of sea level rise and extreme weather events by two leading climate scientists. The workshop attendees were shocked to discover that it was likely that sometime this century the melting of Greenland ice would become irreversible, eventually contributing 7 metres to the average global sea level.

The situation is now very clear. There is strong evidence that much of the carbon in the remaining coal, gas and oil reserves cannot be added to the atmosphere if extremely dangerous warming is to be avoided. Faced with this need for urgent and far reaching action, the experts on climate law at the Saturday workshop explained how court actions are already being brought against both governments and fossil fuel companies in different countries to seek to prevent this disaster.

There were several outcomes from Saturday’s workshop: a greater understanding of both the range of possible types of legal action and of the underlying legal precedents and principles; the development of better networking for the sharing of knowledge and for coordination of action from country to country; and the resolve to hold a moot or mock trial to develop a case to prosecute one or more major fossil fuel producer for planning to produce large quantities of fossil fuel which when burnt would greatly increase the future risk of flooding in a low lying coastal community such as Portsmouth. There was general agreement from the workshop that the best eventual outcome of climate change litigation would be the establishment of Cap and Share, a scheme devised by Feasta members for progressively reducing the quantity of coal , oil and gas that could be burnt, and for widely sharing the increased profits resulting from the constricting supply of these fuels.

The Sunday workshop examined how to get Cap and Share off the ground, and other measures that might supplement this or be implemented on a standalone basis. The workshop considered how to judge which proposals for addressing climate change were promising and which were useless delusions, as well as how to tackle the ways in which governments and the fossil fuel industries spread these delusions. It also considered approaches to encourage the change of hearts and minds, community ownership initiatives, and local measures aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions from transport.

David Knight, one of the organisers of the event said, “Participants judged the workshops a great success and very exciting. We are confident that there will be further action based on the greater understanding of what is possible that flowed from the workshop.”

For further information please contact David Knight at david.knight77@ntlworld.com
or 07734249869/ 01962853637.

Note: Feasta is a forum for exchanging ideas. By posting on its site Feasta agrees that the ideas expressed by authors are worthy of consideration. However, there is no one ‘Feasta line’. The views of the article do not necessarily represent the views of all Feasta members.